The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 497 

short time after this praiseworthy change, departing from this world at the call of the Lord. The third, the survivor, meditating on the many great sins that he had committed, subjected himself to such penance that except for the common Lents which he made as the others did, for fifteen continuous years he ate only bread and water three times a week. He was content with only one little tunic; he always walked barefooted and never went to sleep after matins. During this fifteen-year period Saint Francis passed from this world to the heavenly Father.

30 After this brother had held to this strict penance for many years without ceasing, one night after matins such a temptation to sleep suddenly overcame him that no convincing argument could make him resist sleep nor keep vigil, as he usually did. Since he was not able to resist nor able to pray, he gave in to the temptation and went to his bed to sleep. As soon as his head touched the bed, he was led in spirit to a very high mountain, where there was a very deep ravine, broken boulders here and there and different rocks jutting out unevenly. The one who was guiding him pushed the brother from the top of the ravine. Falling headlong over the stones, and crashing against rock after rock, when he came to the bottom of the ravine all his limbs seemed torn and his bones broken.

33 While he was lying there badly battered, his guide called to him to get up, because he still had a long journey to make. The brother replied: "You're a hard man with no discernment. You see me bruised all over to the point of death, but you still tell me to get up." The guide came over and touched him, and his bruised limbs were immediately and perfectly healed. Then he showed the brother a great plain full of sharp stones, thorns and thistles, swamps and sink-holes, over which he had to walk barefoot to reach the end of the plain where there was a red-hot furnace which he saw from a distance and which he had to enter. After he passed over that plain with great difficulty, the angel said to him: "Get into the furnace: you have to." The brother replied: "You're a hard guide. You see me so painfully hurt by this torturous plain that I need complete rest, and you say: 'Get into the furnace.' " As he looked around the furnace, he suddenly saw demons standing on all sides with pitchforks. As he hesitated to go into the furnace with their forks they quickly pushed him in.

38 As he entered that fire, he met one of his godparents, who was burning all over. He cried out, "O godfather, you unlucky man! How did you come to be here?" And the other said, "Go on a little further into this fire and you'll find my wife, your godmother, who will tell you the cause of my damnation." So he went on a little further




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 497